The 2016 NBA free agency is only about three weeks away and there are a lot of big names available in the market. As part of a five-part series, here is Sportsrageous’ list of the top five shooting guards in free agency.
- DeMar DeRozan, 26 – Toronto Raptors (PO)
After a great season, DeMar DeRozan proved that he is one of the best players and the top shooting guard in free agency. He averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while leading the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals with Kyle Lowry.
His three-point shooting is still close to non-existent, preferring the mid-range game and attacking the rim. The 26-year-old is at his best when he’s being aggressive on offense and his playmaking ability is often overlooked.
DeMar DeRozan is also very good in drawing contact but he needs to limit his tough shots. He will likely get a max deal from the Raptors but teams like the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked with him.
- Dwyane Wade, 34 – Miami Heat (UFA)
D-Wade stayed relatively healthy this season as he played in 74 games while averaging 19.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals. He showed why he is one of the best players ever as he helped the Heat win a playoff series without Chris Bosh.
The 34-year-old also shot really well from outside the arc in the postseason with a 52.2 shooting percentage in 14 games. He still can play at a high level but the Heat coaching staff needs credit for managing his minutes.
Wade is due for one last big contract after taking all those pay cuts to accommodate LeBron James during their championship seasons.
- Bradley Beal, 22 – Washington Wizards (RFA)
Beal has the best potential among the free agent shooting guards in free agency. However, he has missed a lot of games every since his rookie season due many injuries but the most concerning is his persistent right leg injury that has affected him every year.
He is a high-risk, high-reward player since he can play up to an All-Star level until his body breaks down again. The Florida product is going to seek a max contract and the Wizards is the only team that will offer him that kind of money.
- Kent Bazemore, 26 – Atlanta Hawks (UFA)
The Hawks found their replacement for DeMare Carroll when they promoted Kent Bazemore to the starting lineup this season. He can play and guard multiple positions while also having the athleticism to attack the rim.
His main asset from last season was his improved three-point shot as he made a total of 109 threes while shooting 35 percent. The Hawks have the money to retain him but some teams will surely show their interest.
- Dion Waiters, 24 – Oklahoma City Thunder (RFA)
Wait, what? Dion Waiters is on this list? The Dion Waiters that misses layups, makes bad plays and thinks he is a star player? Yes, he is. But before you get angry and say mean things, Waiters had a great season with the Thunder.
The former fourth overall pick finally accepted his role and played really good basketball after the All-Star break. He was not making a lot of bad decisions, he was knocking down shots, he was attacking the basket and he was making good plays
Waiters was even more impressive in the playoffs as he showed he can make good plays on both offense and defense when the stakes are high. However, there is still a big chance that he will go back to his old self once he gets a nice raise.
Honorable Mentions: Evan Fournier, 23 – Orlando Magic (RFA), J.R. Smith, 30 – Cleveland Cavaliers (PO), Courtney Lee, 30 – Charlotte Hornets (UFA), Jamal Crawford, 36 – Los Angeles Clippers (UFA), Allen Crabbe, 24 – Portland Trail Blazers (RFA)
Photo Courtesy: Mark Runyon/Creative Commons